Good-bye to a great author: Elmore Leonard

You’ve been influence by Elmore Leonard, even if you never heard of the guy.  He’s the author of over 50 novels, of which a startling 26 were made as movies.  He passed away at the grand age of 87.  He was behind Get Shorty, Freaky Deaky, and 3:10 to Yuma.

I’m pretty sure I have a book that is based on columns he wrote about writing, but most of it can be summarized in his 10 rules for writing:

1. Never open a book with weather.
2. Avoid prologues.
3. Never use a verb other than ”said” to carry dialogue.
4. Never use an adverb to modify the verb ”said” . . .
5. Keep your exclamation points under control.
6. Never use the words ”suddenly” or ”all hell broke loose.”
7. Use regional dialect, patois, sparingly.
8. Avoid detailed descriptions of characters.
9. Don’t go into great detail describing places and things.
10. Try to leave out the part that readers tend to skip.

Originally posted at the NYTimes.  Click the link for the full version.

 

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